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January 31, 2004

Depends On What Your Definition of "Is" Is

It Depends on What the Definition of Is IsUPDATE 6/25/2004: According to my Web stats (and a quick Google search), this blog post is the #1 search result for "it depends on what the definition of is is" former president Bill Clinton's famous catchphrase. Well, Clinton's new book, My Life, is setting all kinds of sales records at the moment. So this is just a shameless attempt to cash in on my fortuitous Google ranking. If you can respect that, please ignore the negative reviews and buy the book (or audio book) right now from me, and my children will thank you!

Andrew Jones is trying to define "The Emerging Church" for a popular UK magazine. The mere mention of this on his blog has elicited a lot of comments from people (including fellow Emergent honcho Tony Jones, no relation) offering their thoughts and definitions -- or arguments against defining such a thing altogether.

Meanwhile, like the Oracle in The Matrix, Alan Creech is arguing that there is no "Emerging Church."

I actually had a friend ask me earlier this week, "What is the 'emerging church' phenom that you speak of?" Obviously there are a lot of people out there that aren't aware of what's going on, so asking for an explanation isn't out of the question (so to speak). However, my reply to my friend is not worth repeating here because it's so lame. I really have no great insights on that topic, so I'm just pointing you to the people who actually have a clue.

I'll keep you posted on what Andrew comes up with for his "official" definition ...

UPDATE: Andrew Jones dodges the question! OK not really, in fact he gives a pretty kick butt answer to why "emerging church" defies definition and why he prefers the term "emerging" over "postmodern" any day. He also explains that "emerging church" does not mean "Gen X church" and why. Great stuff.

Meanwhile, Tim Bednar is rebutting Alan Creech with a post of his own about why "emerging church" should be considered a "movement." Very moving indeed!

UPDATE 2: The new Emergent UK group blog has a great post from Jason Smith on 12 emerging values that mark the emerging church. He also shares (and critiques) Bill Easum's 5 things that successful emerging church leaders are doing. Bottom line: Smith nails some things on the head. Very much worth reading.

UPDATE 3: OK three is a good biblical number. I'll cut off the updates to this post at three (or maybe five -- the biblical number for perfection, right?). Anyway, the latest update from Emergent Village features Brian McLaren's thoughts on why there are no "postmodern churches" and why applying the term "movement" to the whole thing is "dangerous." I'm sure this discussion will continue. I promise to pick it up in future blog posts.

Posted by Steve K. at January 31, 2004 09:51 PM


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